We often write about the value of education in the struggle against poverty. But I think the message is more compelling when it comes from the mouths of the Christian missionaries who are actually working with the children of the poor on a daily basis in Cross-sponsored schools.
Here is a letter from a staff member of Christian Light Foundation, a ministry that, with support from Cross donors, has been operating in a harsh, desolate area of Gonaives, Haiti, in a place called Jubilee:
We dream big here in Jubilee. These kids live a life of extremes so we refuse to dream in anything but extremes. We dream of green plants in this barren land. We dream of one of our kids becoming president. We dream of each and every one of them graduating high school and realizing they can do whatever they want. We dream they all realize their potential. And every day we work towards these dreams coming true.
It may sound like ABCs and 1,2,3s, but these kids are actually learning they can do things beyond their imaginations. We draw and color and sing and dance, and through it all the kids find self-esteem they hadn’t even the remotest idea existed. In dress-up, they realize they can dream of future jobs. Legos build manual dexterity and the dream that one of our kids will someday build tall buildings of more than blocks. We bang tambourines and rain sticks and believe that one of these kids will end up on the radio. They have amazing potential – it just needs to be fostered.
Education is their way up in the cruel environment they were born into. It is what waters these fragile plants and promises life in the driest of conditions. With an education they can do more than secure a well paying job, they can dream. They can think beyond survival and think more of their God-given potential. They have something amazing to offer this world, if only they have the chance to show it.